All science starts with a research question. What do we want to learn from the archaeological record? The record for human evolution so far shows us that all the major events in human evolution occurred in Africa using a hunter-gatherer economy, modern humans evolved in Africa, and that in successive waves starting about 2.0 million years ago, hominins left Africa and dispersed across the world. The last of those events, the Great Modern Human Diaspora, commenced about 70,000 years ago and is still underway as we reach for the stars. That means Africa and its wild and natural resource base was the context for the evolution of modern humans.

Stone is the only material that normally weathers the vast time of human evolution, and thus our record of technology is dominated by stone tools for the majority of human evolution. But under special circumstances, bone and other hard animal tissues survive well, and under the best conditions (normally the most recent), shell and plant materials also survive. It is important to keep these axioms in mind as we examine the artifactual record of human evolution. Much more research is needed to fill in the picture.

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